Semi-Divine

Open your eyes, let's begin.
Yes, it's really me, it's Maui: breathe it in!
I know it's a lot: the hair, the bod!
When you're staring at a demi-god!

A character that's not a fully supernatural being (such as a god, angel, demon, spirit in general, abomination, etc.), but has a touch of it or more in them. The character may be the offspring/descendant of supernatural creatures and mortals, or is part of a race that's inherently part-supernatural or in between. For that matter, the character might have even become part-supernatural as a boon from the Powers That Be or their own personal attempt to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence. The reverse can also happen, as a fully supernatural being Descends from a Higher Plane of Existence and winds up with a "mere" fraction of their former supernatural touch.

These characters tend to exhibit several Stock Superpowers, and if they aren't outright immortal, they're almost guaranteed to be Long-Lived. They may or may not qualify as Humanoid Abominations (who themselves have a high chance of being this character type), and that's if they look humanoid in the first place.

The Antichrist is almost always an example. Changelings are also frequently found to be some mix of human and faerie. Divine Parentage, being Touched by Vorlons and a Deal with the Devil are common origins for this type of character. Having a piece of a magical being in you may also count.

One can think of these characters as beings that are partly Made of Magic (or spirit-like beings in general).

As can be derived from the title, part-divine characters are one of the (if not, the) most common examples, which is unsurprising, considering the fact that many gods in mythology have had rather promiscuous lifestyles, and this would naturally extend to modern-day fiction. It should be noted, however, that this trope applies to any mix or midway between "normal" and purely supernatural beings, so this isn't limited to the literal Semi-Divine.

Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • All of the Claymores are half-human and half-youma except for Clare, who is only one-quarter youma. They're born human and become half-youma by taking youma flesh into their bodies. A fallen Claymore warrior is called an "Awakened One" and is far more powerful than a pure-blooded youma.
  • The Grim Reapers of Black Butler, described by Sebastian as intermediate "between Man and God".
  • Goku and Vegeta in Dragon Ball, as they can transform into Super Saiyan God and the Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan, becoming literal Physical Gods. Goku Black is another example, being Zamasu inside Goku's body, and can transform into Super Saiyan Rose, another godly form. Fusion Zamasu, having merged with the demi-god Goku Black, is also a demi-god by default.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • Child of the Storm has Harry as a demigod.
    • Diana of Themyscira, daughter of Hercules and Hippolyta, also appears.
  • We Are All Pokémon Trainers:
    • Following Okamiquest, Ammy has been left with a slight divine spark due to her transformation into a divine Arcanine.
    • Hitodama, Tagg's Lampent, is the demigodess progeny of Satine the Chandelure and Lifealope, who happens to be a minor deity and Xerneas' brother.
  • The Pony POV Series, there have been several examples.
    • The most prominent is Fluttercruel, who was born from Discord's Mind Rape of Fluttershy, who's Demi-Draconequus.
    • Cupid was the child of the Love Goddess Venus and her husband, a mortal pony named Mars. Cupid was also the Concept of Sharing Love and showcases a unique trait of a Demi-God: the ability to move freely between the mortal plain and the spirit realm, something Fluttercruel is unaware of (probably because unlike her, Cupid's mother was an active part of her life). Unfortunately, Cupid was killed using the Concept Killing Spear and erased from existence along with his Concept. Eventually a mortal named Lovestruck, who is his twice removed Reincarnation due to the Lost Age, merges with Cupid's Shadow of Existence, inheriting his Demi-God nature and reconstituting his Concept. Another benefit of Demi-Gods is also revealed here: they aren't as powerful as full deities, but can freely use their full power without being detected by those who can sense the divine because their mortal half shields their divine half.
    • Another one is know to exist but has not been touched upon in detail: Galaxia, Celestia's sister, sired a family during her time in the mortal world, which is where Blueblood and Cadence's bloodline comes from, which technically makes Blueblood this trope, albeit incredibly diluted.
    • In a sense all of life itself is this. Fauna Luster is called the Mother of All Things because She gives birth to all souls. One side story even has all mortal life referred to as the half siblings of the Alicorns for this reason. This may explain how mortals have the potential to become gods.

    Literature 
  • The White Court in The Dresden Files. Their souls are half demon due to a demonic symbiote that gives them superhuman abilities and incredibly good looks, but at the cost of a Hunger for human emotions. The Raith family is particularly noted to go after lust.
  • The Reveal in The Immortals quartet is that protagonist Daine is a demigoddess through a minor God of the Hunt. This explains both Daine's unprecedentedly strong wild magic and her incredible archery skills.
  • In the Old Kingdom books by Garth Nix, the world was created by nine spirits of Free Magic, but in order to protect the world and humanity, the Seven created the Charter and bound most of the Free Magic in the world. Four of them poured most of their power into mortal bloodlines; the Clayr, the Abhorsen, the royal family and the Wallmakers. Consequently, although not directly related to a deity, they all do have powers inherited from a god (or close enough).
  • Kushiel's Legacy establishes that the D'Angeline people are distantly descended from God's grandson and his angelic companions. It has some advantages: they have fewer infirmities in old age, women won't get pregnant until they pray to "open their wombs", and they tend to be very pretty.
    • The original Master of the Straits's mother was a direct child of Elua (or one of his companions) by a human while his father was the renegade angel Rahab, giving him "three parts ichor to one part blood". While his curse keeps him alive, his ancestry keeps him in good health for over 800 years.
  • Vishous from Black Dagger Brotherhood is another example; he is the son of the Scribe Virgin, the deity vampires pray to in his universe. He also has a twin sister named Payne....
  • In the Percy Jackson book series, most of the main characters (at least the children) are demigods, born of a Greek god and a human.
    • And the sequel to the series, The Heroes of Olympus, does the same. Many of the main characters are the children on the Roman gods now, however.
  • The Delphaes in The Shining Ones started as humans but now are slowly evolving into gods. As a result, they possess awesome powers, but they can also melt alive anyone who gets too close to them. Eventually, they fully evolve into gods and leave the earth forever.
  • In the Inheritance Trilogy, demons are the descendants of both god and mortal, and include Oree, the protagonist of the second book. Since demons are themselves mortal, but also partake of godhood, their blood is the only thing that can kill the genuinely-immortal gods.
  • The Lord Ruler of Mistborn presents himself as a Physical God but is actually a human who briefly held a portion of the power of the god Preservation a millenium ago. Though he no longer possesses that power directly, while holding it he gained enough divine insight to make him scarily good at all three of the trilogy's forms of Functional Magic, rendering him immortal and virtually invincible. Word of God calls people like this from across the overall cosmology of Sanderson's works "Slivers".
  • Subverted in The Wheel of Time with the Forsaken, who are basically considered minor evil deities under the power of the Dark One in-universe, but are really just very powerful, very evil humans (the gap between legend and reality being a major theme of the series). However, in the last two books Rand becomes this or something pretty close after fully coming into his Enlightenment Superpowers, and is even able to face the Dark One on fairly even footing at the end.
  • In the Discworld novel Soul Music, a contemporary of Susan Sto Helit at their exclusive boarding school boasts of the Great God Blind Io having visited her great-great-grandmother as a shower of something or other, her great-grandmother being the causal result. Which she reckons makes her a hemi-semi-demi-goddess. All good for school enrollment... Susan, who herself is coming to terms with her own interesting genetic make-up bequeathed by her Grandfather, is not impressed.
  • Journey to Chaos:
    • Kasile is a direct descendant of the fire goddess Fiol, but there's a lot of human blood between the two of them. She's basically mortal but has access to divine magic.
    • Elves in general fit this trope because they carry fragments of Chaos inside them. It makes them into beings that are halfway between humans and tricksters.
  • The Divine Cities
    • With a pantheon of squabbling gods reigning over the Continent, it's not a surprise that there were plenty of semi-divine beings around before the Kaj killed the Continent's Divinities. Those beings were called the Blessed and reality itself felt the urge to accomodate their wishes, warping itself around them and — to a lesser extent — around their descendants. Saypur's last Kaj and resident godslayer, upon conquering the Continent, dragged them and any other divine creatures he could find out into the streets and executed them all.
    • In an ironic turn of events, the Kaj himself was part Divine, though he didn't know this until the last Divinity told him. It was the only reason, in fact, why and how he menaged to develop a weapon strong enough to kill the gods, as a non-Blessed human could not have accomplished that.
    • Played With in Shara, who initially is taken aback by the idea of all her achievements in life being due to her being a descendant of the Kaj, but she is then assured that she has not inherited enough of it for reality to warp itself around her.
    • Vinya Komayd, Shara's aunt and head of the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, on the other hand, turns out to be Blessed, meaning her entire political career was not her own achiement. Her bitterness over that discovery is what kicks the plot of City of Stairs off by ordering the death of Dr. Efrem Pangyui, who made the discovery in the first place.
  • In the novella A Taste of Honey, most of the important characters turn out to have some divine blood:
    • Aqib is related with Adónane and Perfecta through his mother's line of descent, although it's been many generations and the blood is very thin. It still allows him to communicate with animals on a level non-divine people cannot.
    • Femysade, also distantly related with the Ashëans, turns out to be their prophesized scientific savant and her smidgen of divine blood allows her to use their gadgets.
    • Lucretia, being the daughter of Aqib and Femysade, develops telekinesis at the age of eight and her own son Qary has the strongest telekinetic talent seen in a very long time.
  • The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps:
    • Demane is a demigod, though that's a tenuous descriptor as he admits himself, considering he is seven and five generations removed from his truly divine aunt on his mother's and father's sides, respectively. Aunty claims he's nonetheless stronger than anyone she's seen in a couple generations, and his divine heritage allows him to work minor miracles. He also has Super Strength, a superiour sense of smell, can see in the dark and can control his metabolism to an extent. All of this has earned him the moniker 'Sorcerer'.
    • Captain is, according to Demane, way closer to the divine than Demane himself. His Super Strength is superiour to Demane's, as is his Healing Factor. He has Hyper Awareness as well, his voice is so beautiful he cannot speak but sings and his hair can drink sunlight, which is why he keeps it hidden.

    Live Action TV 
  • The vampires of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. They retain their (enhanced) bodies and their minds, but their formerly human soul is replaced with that of a demon.
    • Hell, most of the "demons" are an example. They're the product of countless generations of interbreeding between humans and true demons, who were more like Eldritch Abominations than their typical depictions.
    • An example of a mortal attaining semi-divine status happens in Angel. Cordelia was dying because her psychic visions were causing Power Degeneration. After refusing a divine offer to give up her powers and live a normal life in order to continue doing good, she was rewarded by being turned part demon. Being allied with the (generally) good Powers That Be, her demonhood had no cosmetic effects, gave her immunity to Power Degeneration, and healing abilities.
    • Also from Angel, the fifth season gives us Ilyria, an Old One, a pure demon. Her current shell is too weak to contain her power, so Team Angel siphons off some of her power. So now she's a semi-human Old One with a fraction of her former strength.
  • Castiel during the fifth season of Supernatural. After rebelling against heaven to help the Winchesters save the world from the upcoming apocalypse, he steadily loses his divine power until he's basically human by the end of the season.
    • Sam and the rest of the psychic children. Their powers originated from being fed Azazel's blood when they were infants.
  • In the Stargate-verse, any character on the path to ascension displays a plethora of Psychic Powers, which signifies how close they are to becoming the god-like ascended.
  • In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Benjamin Sisko is the son of a human man and one of the Prophets (possessing a human woman).
  • The titular Shadowhunters are effectively a human sub-species gifted with angelic blood and paranormal abilities for the purpose of Demon Slaying.

    Music 
  • Leontius from Sound Horizon's Moira is noted to be descended from the Thunder God from his mother's side. As his siblings, so are Elefseus and Artemisia.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • The original demigod, Gilgamesh himself, was actually two-thirds god. How that worked is anybody's guess.note 
  • Dragons in eastern mythology are often part-godly in nature.
  • Classical Mythology had a ton of them:
    • Heracles: In a similar vein to Gilgamesh, Heracles is not only the son of Zeus and Alcmene, but he is also descended from Perseus (incidentally his half-brother) and, arguably, Tantalus (yet another half-brother). He actually has more of Zeus's blood in him than any other god on Olympus.
    • The swan's children, Helen (her half - sister Clytemnestra was daughter of Leda and her human husband, Tyndareos) and her twin brothers Castor and Pollux: children of Zeus and Leda.
    • Odysseus spent a few years on two different islands shacked up with two different minor goddesses (Circe and Calypso). The Odyssey doesn't mention any children, but there's no such thing as a divinity that isn't Super Fertile. Later myths explore the lives of their many, many, many children.
    • Frankly, Zeus and a few other gods deserve a special folder all their own. Those rapists were all up ins. And gods make babies. Always.
    • Aeneas's mother was Aphrodite. Dude founded the city and fathered the people that would go on to later found Rome.
    • There were whole races that were thought to be somewhere between the Olympians and mortals in terms of divinity, such as the nymphs.
  • Jesus Christ, although in some denominations, he is both 100% divine and 100% human.
    • The Nephilim of Judeo-Christian mythology are thought to be the children of angels.
  • Merlin is thought to be the child of a demon and mortal, although in the original myths he was depicted as something of a fey spirit, so half-fairy was more likely.
  • In Hindu Mythology, Ganesh was a boy who was appointed by the Goddess Parvati to stop anyone from entering her bathroom while taking her bath. When Ganesh stopped her husband Shiva from entering, Shiva cut his head off. After Parvati found out what happened, she became angry, and Shiva had to fix Ganesh by attaching an elephant's head to Ganesh. Some variations on the myth depict him as already being divine, however, especially when he's the son of Shiva and Parvati.
    • In the Mahabharata there are the sons of Kunti: Karna (son of Surya), Yudisthira (son of Dharma), Bhima (son of Vayu), and Arjuna (son of Indra). Also the sons of Madri: Nakula and Sahadeva, the sons of the Ashvin twin gods.
  • From Irish legend comes Cú Chulainn, the son of the mortal woman Deichtine and the sun god Lugh. Additionally, a good number of the members of the Red branch - namely, Conall Carnach, Fachtna Fáthach, the three sons of Uisliu, and again Cuchulainn) are descended from Aengus Og - Fachtna through his daughter, Maga, and the rest through his granddaughters.
  • In Japanese Mythology, the entirety of humankind (or maybe just the Japanese) itself is semi-divine, due to being descendants of the First Emperor, who in turn is a descendant of the Sun Goddess, who in turn is a descendant of one of the creator of the world.
    • Furthermore, some humans can increase their divinity-level by being worshipped while still alive, they are known as arahitogami, or living-god.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Phil, Prince of Insufficient Light in Dilbert.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The eponymous Exalted are mortals that are blessed as the divine champions of the most powerful gods and god-like beings in the setting. As a consequence, they tend to have abilities that far exceed those of the "normal" gods and spirits, which is most obviously seen in the Solars and their derivatives.
    • It's worth pointing out that most Exalted become what they are when a normal human's body and soul are combined/merged with a shard of literal divine power.
    • There are also the (less powerful) god-bloods, a straighter example in that their power comes from having a magical parent.
  • The Scions are the children of gods, and can ascend to godhood themselves.
  • In Dungeons & Dragons
    • "The planetouched" all descended from outsiders — Tieflings and Aasimar are descendants of fiends and celestials, respectively.
      • In D&D3 every sorcerer gets their powers from some kind of encounter with a magical force somewhere back in the family tree (either directly or indirectly), Some of them are divine, infernal, or even draconic.
    • D&D also has Divine Rank 0 entities (normal beings have no rank at all). Such an entity isn't a god for most purposes (they don't grant spells, with one very specific exception that requires special training and effort on the devotee's partnote ), but they have many of the mechanical benefits of being considered divine (immortality, max HP, a host of immunities, some DR against non Epic weapons, resistances).
    • Planescape introduced proxies — mortals turned into extensions of the divine will and power.
    • Forgotten Realms, with its endless tug-o-war between deities, got Chosen — mortals given a chunk of divine essence to carry and work with. Mystra is most known for keeping a bunch of these, because as the goddess of magic, she had to stash some power in mortals. They're "not quite mortals" — don't age or need to sleep, immune to any poisons, and so on. Unlike proxyhood, this can't be called off at will, and as such happens only when gods are quite sure they want to make this specific follower overpowered and near-immortal — though, of course, if a Chosen becomes enough of a problem, the respective deity is likely to send powerful and more loyal minions to take it from the renegade's dead body; this happened to The Rebel Chosen (killed by Elminster) and Sammaster after he went violently insane (killed by Khelben).
      • Ubtao protects his faithful using Bara. These also have untouched will, but this status is explicitly contractual and can be easily lost through improper behaviour. Bara get immortality and an overpowered random signature ability. Known gifts included commanding any water creatures, raising undead with unlimited control, power over plant growth, and telekinesis strong enough to crush the Tarrasque beyond regeneration.
  • The Primarchs and, to a lesser extent, the Space Marines of Warhammer 40,000. The Primarchs are the 20 sons of the God-Emperor, and while they aren't as powerful as him, they're nigh-godly unto themselves. The Space Marines are warriors that are Bio Augmented with the geneseed of the Primarchs, and they're basically an army of individuals who can each slaughter a thousand men by themselves.
  • Anyone with Outsider Taint in Cthulhu Tech.
  • Pathfinder:
    • The Aasimar are beings descended from good-aligned Outsiders like angels or azatas and mortal humanoids (most often humans); they are often unearthly beautiful, ethereal, and are one of the longest-lived races in the game, and have a few innate good- and light-based powers.
    • The Celestial sorcerer bloodline is a sorcerer of any race who either has a good-aligned Outsider ancestor somewhere in their family tree, was blessed by a good-aligned deity at their birth, or something similar. They eventually gain powers like the ability to manifest and fly with feathery, angelic wings, as well as the ability to purge things with light.

    Video Games 

    Visual Novels 
  • Divinity in Fate/stay night is somewhat arbitrary and is ranked; the closer you are to the gods, the higher the rank. This results in heroes such as Gilgamesh, who is two-thirds divine (Rank A), but has his divinity reduced to Rank B since he himself dislikes the gods, and Medusa, who has had her divinity reduced severely after being transformed into a demonic creature.
    • This actually does have an impact on the plot because one of Gilgamesh's Noble Phantasms, Enkidu, get's stronger the higher the target's Divinity Ranking.

    Webcomics 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Genie in the Aladdin sequels and series. After being freed, he has gone from having "phenomenal cosmic powers" to "semi-phenomenal nearly-cosmic powers".
  • Danny Phantom, along with Vlad Masters and Danielle Phantom, are half ghost, though there was no breeding between ghosts and humans involved: the former two were both results of lab accidents, and the latter was cloned.
  • Raven of the Teen Titans, daughter of the human woman Arella and the arch-demon Trigon, who inherited a degree of her father's vast magical powers. Destined to be the harbinger of the end of the world; spends most of her time trying to thwart her fate.
  • In Disney's Hercules, the title character is this trope. Unlike in Greek Mythology, he was born a full-fledged god to Zeus and Hera, then Hades's minions remove most of his godhood with a potion, just leaving him with Super Strength (due to not drinking the last drop). In the series, he was regularly referred to as a demigod, and we met several others.
  • In Wakfu, the six original Eliatropes, their Dragon siblings, and Goultard are all semi divine. The original Eliatropes and their Dragon siblings are the first creations of the gods Eliatrope and Great Dragon. Goultard is the son of the god Iop and one of his mortal followers Cabotine.
  • Maui in Moana is a Disney depiction of a mythic figure common in a vast number of real-life Polynesian mythologies. While real-life depictions range from mere human to full-on divinity, this movie's depiction settles for the middle of the road and explicitly calls Maui a demigod. In this version, he was not born Semi-Divine, but was abandoned to the ocean by Abusive Parents who didn't want him. Well, the Gods weren't gonna have any of that, so they took him in and made him Maui, Demigod of the Wind and Seas (and a Shapeshifter who eventually becomes a Hero to All).

Alternative Title(s): Semi Divinity, Quasi Divine, Semi Infernal, Part Abomination, Semi Spirit, Physical Demigod, Godling, Semi Supernatural

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Semidivine